Full Text Obama Presidency May 9, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Energy Efficiency at Walmart, Mountain View, California



Remarks by the President on American Energy

Source: WH, 5-9-14 

Watch the Video

Mountain View, California

9:48 A.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Mountain View!  (Applause.)  It’s good to be in California.  Everybody, have a seat.  Have a seat.  This is actually my third day on the West Coast.  On Wednesday, we went to L.A., then we went to San Diego, we’re here in the Bay Area.  But I have to get back because Sunday is what?

AUDIENCE:  Mother’s Day!

THE PRESIDENT:  It is Mother’s Day.  That is a public service announcement — do not forget.  (Laughter.)  It’s Mother’s Day.

I told Michelle one time, I said, how come people put so much emphasis on Mother’s Day, and Father’s day not so much?  (Laughter.)  She said every day other than Mother’s Day is Father’s Day.  (Laughter and applause.)  Which I thought kind of quieted me down.

I want to thank your mayor, Chris Clark, for hosting us.  (Applause.)  I want to thank the folks at Walmart.  And I know this looks like a typical Walmart, but it is different — and that’s why I’m here.  A few years ago, you decided to put solar panels on the roof of the store.  You replaced some traditional light bulbs with LEDs.  You made refrigerator cases more efficient.  And you even put in a charging station for electric vehicles.  And all told, those upgrades created dozens of construction jobs and helped this store save money on its energy bills.  And that’s why I’m here today — because more and more companies like Walmart are realizing that wasting less energy isn’t just good for the planet, it’s good for business.  It’s good for the bottom line.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, see, he agrees.  (Applause.)  And it means jobs.

Changing the way we use energy is just one of the ways Americans have been working so hard to move this country forward.  In the wake of the worst financial and economic crisis in generations, our businesses now have created over 9.2 million new jobs.  A housing market that was reeling is rebounding.  An auto industry that was flat-lining is now booming.  You’ve got a manufacturing sector that had lost a third of its jobs during the ‘90s and now is adding jobs for the first time.  More than 8 million Americans have now signed up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act.  (Applause.)  Troops that were fighting two wars are coming home.  And rather than create jobs in other countries, more companies are actually choosing to create jobs and invest right here in the United States of America.

But we’ve got a long way to go before we get to where we need to be — which is an economy where everybody who works hard, everybody who takes responsibility has a chance to get ahead, and that we have a chance to build an economy that works not just for a few at the top, but for everybody.  That’s our goal — the idea that no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, what your last name is, if you work hard, if you take responsibility, you can make it here in America.

And that starts with helping businesses create more good jobs.  One of the biggest factors in bringing jobs back to America has been our commitment to American energy over the last five years.  When I took office, we set out to break our dependence on foreign oil.  Today, America is closer to energy independence than we have been in decades.  We generate more renewable energy than ever, with tens of thousands of good American jobs to show for it.  We produce more natural gas than anyone — and nearly everybody’s energy bill is lower because of it.  So are our carbon emissions that cause climate change.

We set new fuel standards for our cars and trucks so that they’ll go twice as far on a gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade.  That saves the typical family about $8,000 at the pump.  And for the first time in nearly 20 years, America produces more oil here at home than we buy from other countries.

So we’re producing more traditional energy, but we’re also becoming a leader in the energy sources of the future.  We’re becoming a global leader in solar, thanks in part to the investments we’ve made in the Recovery Act.  Over the past few years, the cost of solar panels have fallen by 60 percent; solar installations have increased by 500 percent.  Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar, and every panel is pounded into place by a worker whose job cannot be overseas.

So today, no matter where you live or where you do business, solar is getting cheaper and is getting easier to use than before.  And with more businesses and rural cooperatives and homes choosing solar, prices keep coming down, manufacturers keep getting more innovative, and more jobs are created.  Last year, jobs in the solar industry increased by 20 percent.

But we’ve got more work to do.  And I want to work with Congress to do it.  Unfortunately, Congress has not always been as visionary on these issues as we would like.  It can be a little frustrating.  But in this Year of Action, wherever I can go ahead and create my own opportunities for new jobs, I’m going to take it.

And so far, I’ve taken more than 20 executive actions — from launching new hubs to attracting more high-tech manufacturing jobs to America, to reforming our job training programs to make sure more Americans are getting the skills they need to get the jobs that exist right now.

And so today, here at Walmart, I want to announce a few more steps that we’re taking that are going to be good for job growth and good for our economy, and that we don’t have to wait for Congress to do.  They are going to be steps that generate more clean energy, waste less energy overall, and leave our kids and our grandkids with a cleaner, safer planet in the process.

So let me list these out.  Number one, we know that making buildings more energy efficient is one of the easiest, cheapest ways to create jobs, save money, and cut down on harmful pollution that causes climate change.  It could save our businesses tens of billions of dollars a year on their energy bills — and they can then use that money to grow and hire more folks.  It would put construction workers back to work installing new systems and technologies.  So this is what you call a win-win-win.

So that’s why, three years ago, I announced what we called the Better Buildings Initiative.  It’s an ambitious plan to improve the energy efficiency of America’s commercial buildings by 20 percent by the year 2020.  And already we’ve got 190 businesses and organizations that have signed on.  On average, they’re on track to meet their goal — cutting energy use by 2.5 percent every single year.  Together, they’ve already saved $300 million in energy costs.  So we know it works.

And that’s why, over the past few months, I’ve been picking up the phone and reaching out to more leaders to get them on board.  And today, they’re stepping up — from cities, school districts, businesses, universities, you’re seeing folks move on energy efficiency.  GM is pledging to improve energy efficiency in 31 plants.  The University of Virginia is doing the same thing in its buildings.  Cities like Little Rock, Kansas City and Detroit are replacing regular street lights with more efficient LEDs.

And at Walmart, you’ve committed to reducing energy consumption across 850 million square feet of space.  That’s a lot.  That’s enough to cover more than half of the city of San Francisco.  Taken together, this is going to make a difference, and it’s the right thing to do for the planet, but it’s also the right thing to do for the bottom line.  Because when you save that money you can pass that money back to consumers in the form of lower prices, or you can use it to create more jobs.

So folks in the private sector are doing their part to create jobs and reduce pollution and cut waste.  I’m making sure the federal government does its part.  Two years ago, I ordered $2 billion in energy upgrades to federal buildings.  Today, I’m ordering an additional $2 billion in upgrades over the next three years.  And these upgrades will create tens of thousands of construction jobs and save taxpayers billions of dollars.

The Department of Energy is putting a new efficiency standard — set of efficiency standards in place that could save businesses billions of dollars in energy costs and cut carbon pollution — and it’s the equivalent of taking about 80 million cars off the road.  And I want to thank Ernie Moniz, Secretary of Energy, and Secretary Donovan — Shaun Donovan of HUD — who are here today because they’ve shown extraordinary leadership on these issues.  That’s worth applauding.  (Applause.)

So that’s the first announcement.  Cities, schools, businesses, the federal government — we’re all going to pledge to waste less energy and we’ve got concrete strategies that we know work.

The second announcement is about more Americans coming together to use more clean energy.  Last month, I called up leaders from a whole range of industries and made the economic case for why solar is a good idea.  And they listened.  And today, more than 300 organizations — from homebuilders, to affordable housing owners, to companies like Home Depot and Apple — announced that they are going to expand the use of solar energy, thereby creating more jobs and cutting carbon pollution.

We’ve got public banks like Connecticut’s Green Bank and private banks like Goldman Sachs ready to invest billions of dollars in renewable energy.  The Treasury Department and the IRS are making it easier for renewable energy companies to operate and attract investment.  And we’re going to support training programs at community colleges across the country that will help 50,000 workers earn the skills that solar companies are looking for right now.

Walmart has already got the most installed on-site solar capacity of any company in America.  And now you’ve announced plans to double that capacity.  And it’s all part of your goal to buy or produce 7 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy by 2020 — something that could save Walmart $1 billion a year in energy costs.

So we know that generating more clean energy, using less dirty energy, and wasting less energy overall can be good for business and consumers.  And it’s also good for the world that we leave for our children.

So together, the commitments we’re announcing today prove that there are cost-effective ways to tackle climate change and create jobs at the same time.  So often, when we hear about how we’re going to deal with this really serious issue, people say we can’t afford to do it; it won’t be good for the economy.  It will be good for the economy long term — and if we don’t, that will be bad for the economy.  Rising sea levels, drought, more wildfires, more severe storms — those are bad for the economy.  So we can’t afford to wait.  And there’s no reason why we can’t even go further than we are so far by working with states and utilities, and other organizations to change the way we power our economy.  Climate change is real and we have to act now.

Earlier this week, I issued — or we issued a report that was years in the making called the National Climate Assessment.  Hundreds of scientists, experts and businesses, not-for-profits, local communities all contributed over the course of four years.  What they found was unequivocally that climate change is not some far-off problem in the future.  It’s happening now.  It’s causing hardship now.  It’s affecting every sector of our economy and our society — more severe floods, more violent wildfires.  It’s already costing cities and states and families and businesses money.

Here in California, you’ve seen these effects firsthand.  You know what’s happening.  And increasingly, more and more Americans do — including, by the way, many Republicans outside of Washington.

So unfortunately, inside of Washington we’ve still got some climate deniers who shout loud, but they’re wasting everybody’s time on a settled debate.  Climate change is a fact.

And while we know the shift to clean energy won’t happen overnight, we’ve got to make some tough choices along the way.  And we know that if we do, it’s going to save us ultimately money and create jobs over the long term.  That’s what Walmart understands, and Walmart is pretty good at counting its pennies.

So that’s why this fight is so important.  That’s why the sooner we work together to adapt the economy to this reality of climate change, the more likely it is that we do right by our kids and leave a more stable world.  And ultimately that’s what motivates a whole lot of us.

As Americans, we don’t look backwards.  We look forward.  We don’t fear the future, we seize it.  We shape it.  And when it comes to energy, we have a chance to shape that sector that is probably going to have more to do with how well our economy succeeds than just about any other.  We are blessed when it comes to energy, but we’re much more blessed when it comes to the innovation and the dynamism and the creativity of our economy.

If we do our part right now to rebuild an economy and transition to a clean energy future, we will create new jobs, we will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we will leave our children with a better America and a better future.

So thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  (Applause.)  Thanks to all the companies who are doing the great work, and the not-for-profits.  We appreciate your leadership.

Thank you, guys.  Happy Mother’s Day, moms!  (Applause.)

10:02 A.M. PDT

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Political Musings February 25, 2014: Obama, Governors have turbulent dinner and meeting over 2016, economy, pipeline





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Political Musings February 5, 2014: Obama announces leaving major XL Keystone Pipeline decision making to Kerry





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Political Musings November 16, 2013: Obama uses his weekly address to focus on the economy and energy production





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Full Text Obama Presidency November 14, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on the Economy in Cleveland, Ohio



Remarks by the President on the Economy in Cleveland, OH

 Source: WH, 11-14-13

ArcelorMittal Cleveland Steel Factory
Cleveland, Ohio

3:38 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Ohio!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in Cleveland.  The last time I was here was about a year ago, in the final days of the campaign.  I know how much you miss hearing how I approve this message every night on your TV.  (Laughter.)  I will say it is nice to be here when the only real battle for Ohio is the Browns-Bengals game this Sunday.  (Applause.)  He’s got the Browns shirt right here, Browns cap.  (Laughter.)

I want to thank Scotty for that terrific introduction.  Give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  He is a natural.  I want to thank your CEO, Lakshmi Mittal, for investing in America and the Cleveland area.  We appreciate him.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank all of you for having me here today.

Along with me, there are a couple of people I just want to acknowledge.  First of all, America’s Secretary of Energy, Ernie Moniz, is here.  Right there.  (Applause.)  And Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur is here.  Give Marcy a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  Fighting for working people every day.

And earlier this afternoon I had a chance to see your mayor, Frank Jackson; your county executive, Ed FitzGerald.  And even though they’re not here, I want to thank them for the great work they’re doing on behalf of working people throughout the region.  (Applause.)

And then, finally, I want to thank Mark and Gary for showing me one of the biggest steel plants in America.  And they told me that folks are proud to have been making steel right here for a century — 100 years — right here.  (Applause.)  And they explained that, today, the steel you make in Cleveland is some of the strongest you’ll find anywhere in the world.  It’s one of the most productive plants in the world.  Best workers in the world.  (Applause.)

And what’s remarkable is, when you think about it, go back to where this plant was just a few years ago.  The economy was in free fall, auto industry on the brink of collapse.  And that meant demand for steel had dried up.  The blast furnaces went quiet.  About 1,200 steelworkers punched out for what might have been the last time.  And that all came at the end of a decade when the middle class was already working harder and harder just to get by, and nearly one in three American manufacturing jobs had vanished — a lot of them going overseas.  And that could have devastated this community for good.

But we rolled up our sleeves, we made some tough choices.  We rescued and retooled the American auto industry; it saved more than a million jobs.  We bet on American ingenuity and American workers.  (Applause.)  And assembly lines started humming again, and automakers started to make cars again.  And just a few months after this plant shut down, your plant manager got the call:  Fire those furnaces back up, get those workers back on the job.  And over the last four years, you’ve made yourselves one of the most productive steel mills not just in America, but in the world.  In the world.  (Applause.)

So you retooled to make the stronger steel that goes into newer, better American cars and trucks.  You created new partnerships with schools and community colleges to make sure that folks who work here have the high-tech skills they need for the high-tech jobs — because I was looking around this factory, and there’s a whole bunch of computer stuff going on.

One of your engineers — and I want to make sure I get Margaret’s name right here — Margaret Krolikowski.  Did I get that right, Margaret?  (Applause.)  Where’s Margaret?  Where is she?  There is she is, back there.  So I’m going to quote you — I’m going to quote you.  Here’s what Margaret said:  “When we came back, we wanted to make sure we were in a position where we never shut down again.”  Never shut down again.  And that means making sure that workers here are constantly upgrading their skills and investments being made in the state-of-the-art technology.

And it was interesting, when I was meeting a number of the folks who were giving me the tour — folks who have been here 30 years, 40 years — but obviously the plant has changed, and so during that period they’ve had to upgrade their skills.  And that’s what’s happened.  And the story of this plant is the story of America over the last five years.  We haven’t just been recovering from a crisis.  What we’ve been trying to do is rebuild a new foundation for growth and prosperity to protect ourselves from future crises.  And because of the grit and resilience and optimism of the American people, we’re seeing comeback stories like yours all across America.

Over the last 44 months, our businesses have created 7.8 million new jobs.  Last month, another 200,000 Americans went back to work.  (Applause.)  And a lot of those jobs are in manufacturing.  So now we’ve got more work to do to get those engines of the economy churning even faster.  But because we’ve been willing to do some hard things, not just kick the can down the road, factories are reopening their doors, businesses are hiring new workers, companies that were shipping jobs overseas, they’re starting to talk about bringing those jobs back to America.  We’re starting to see that.

And let me give you an example, because we were talking about this — Mr. Mittal and others were talking about what’s different now.  Take a look at what we’ve done with American energy.  For years, folks have talked about reducing our dependence on foreign oil — but we didn’t really do it.  And we were just importing more and more oil, sending more and more money overseas.  Gas prices keep on going up and up and up.  We finally decided we were going to do something about it.

So we invested in new American technologies to reverse our addiction to foreign oil, double wind power, double solar power, produce more oil, produce more natural gas, and do it all in a way that is actually bringing down some of our pollution, making our entire economy more energy-efficient.  Today, we generate more renewable energy than ever.  We produce more natural gas than anybody in the world.  Just yesterday, we learned that for the first time since 1995, the United States of America produces more of our own oil here at home than we buy from other countries.  First time since 1995.  (Applause.)  And that’s a big deal.  That’s what America has done these past five years.

And that is a huge competitive advantage for us.  Part of the reason companies now want to move — we were just talking about it — this plant, if it’s located in Germany, energy costs are double, maybe triple; same in Japan.  So this gives us a big edge.  But this is also important:  We reached the milestone not just because we’re producing more energy, but also we’re wasting less energy.  And this plant is a good example of it.  We set new fuel standards that double the distance our cars and trucks go on a gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade.  That saves the average driver, everybody here, more than $8,000 at the pump over the life of a new car.  You like that?  (Applause.)  We launched initiatives to put people to work upgrading our homes, and our businesses, and our factories so we’re wasting less energy.  All that saves businesses money on their energy bills.  Your plant is one of the hundreds to answer that call.  And if you’re saving money on energy costs, that means you can invest in equipment, invest in workers, hire more people, produce more products.

And here’s another thing:  Between more clean energy, less wasted energy, the carbon pollution that’s helping to warm the planet, that actually starts going down.  And that’s good news for anybody who cares about leaving a planet to our kids that is as beautiful as the one we got from our parents and our grandparents.  (Applause.)  So it’s a win-win.  Our economy keeps growing, creating new jobs, which means that strengthening our energy security and increasing energy efficiency doesn’t have to be a choice between the environment and the economy — we can do both.

So we’ve tackled the way we use energy.  That’s making America more competitive in order to attract good jobs.  We’ve also tackled our deficits.  A lot of people have been concerned about deficits.  Since I took office, we cut them in half.  That makes America more attractive when it comes to business investment decisions.

And we’ve tackled a broken health care system.  Obviously, we’re not done yet.  (Applause.)  Obviously, we’re not done yet.  But over the last three years, health care costs have grown at the slowest pace on record.  And this is a great place to work thanks to a great steelworkers union and cooperation between management and labor.  (Applause.)  But just keep in mind that if businesses’ health care costs are growing at about one-third the rate that they were a decade ago, that makes America a more affordable place to do business, and it also means that the investors here, if they’re putting less money into health care costs, they can put more money in terms of hiring more workers and making sure that they’re getting good pay.

So that’s what all these tough decisions are about:  Reversing the forces that have hurt the middle class for a long, long time, and building an economy where anybody, if you work hard, you can get ahead.  That’s what plants like this have always been about.  It’s not that it’s easy work.  But it means if you work hard, you’ve got a chance to buy a home, you’ve got a chance to retire, you’ve got a chance to send your kids to school, you have a chance to maybe take a little vacation once in a while.  That’s what people strive for.  And that’s what will make the 21st century an American century, just like the last century was.

But I didn’t run for President to go back to where we were.  I want us to go forward.  I want us to go towards the future.  (Applause.)  I want us to get us to where we need to be.  I want to solve problems, not just put them off.  I want to solve problems.  And we’ve got to do more to create more good, middle-class jobs like the ones folks have here.

That means we’ve got to do everything we can to prepare our children and our workers for the competition that they’re going to face.  We should be doing everything we can to help put some sort of advanced education within reach for more young people.  Not everybody has got to go to a four-year college, but just looking at the equipment around here, you’ve got to have a little bit of advanced training.  It may come through a community college or it may come through a technical school, but we’ve got to make sure you can get that education, your kids can get that education without going broke — without going broke, without going into debt.  (Applause.)  So we’re working on that.

Another thing we should be working on:  Fixing a broken immigration system.  (Applause.)  When you think about this whole region, a lot of folks forget, but almost everybody who worked in that plant 100 years ago came from someplace else.  And so we’ve got now a new generation of hopeful, striving immigrants; we’ve got to make sure that they come legally and that we do what we need to secure our borders, but we’ve also got to make sure that we’re providing them opportunity just like your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents received when they arrived at this plant.  And that’s important.  (Applause.)  And, by the way, it will help our economy grow because then they’re paying taxes and helping to invest and build here in America.

We should do everything we can to revitalize American manufacturing.  Manufacturing is — that’s the hub of our economy.  When our manufacturing base is strong, the entire economy is strong.  A lot of service jobs depend on servicing manufacturing jobs.  And, typically, manufacturing jobs pay a little bit better.  So that’s been a path, a ticket to the middle class.  So when we make steel and cars, make them here in America, that helps.  Like I said, the work may be hard but it gives you enough money to buy a home and raise a kid, retire and send your kids to school.

And those kinds of jobs also tell us something else.  It’s not just how much you get in your paycheck, it’s also a sense of, “I’m making something and I’m helping to build this country.”  It helps establish a sense of — that we’re invested in this country.  (Applause.)  It tells us what we’re worth as a community.  One of your coworkers, Mike Longa — where’s Mike?


THE PRESIDENT:  Is he back here?  That’s Mike right there.  Mike grew up here.  His mom and dad worked at this plant.  This plant helped put Mike and four brothers and/or sisters through college.  And once this plant started growing again, Mike got his chance to be a steelworker here, and provide for his own two young kids.  So it’s a generational thing, and I want to keep that going.

In my State of the Union address, I talked about how we created America’s first manufacturing innovation institute right here in Ohio.  Marcy Kaptur has been a big proponent of this, because she knows how important manufacturing is.  I want to create more of them — places where businesses are working with universities and they’re partnering to figure out what are the new manufacturing techniques that keep us at the cutting edge so that China or Germany don’t get ahead of us in terms of the equipment that’s being invested.  We want to be at the cutting edge, so what we’re producing is always the best steel, it’s always the best cars.  But that requires research and investment.

And your Senator, Sherrod Brown, helped us to create that first manufacturing hub in Youngstown.  And he’s now leading a bipartisan effort — (applause) — he’s now leading a bipartisan effort with Senator Blunt of Missouri to move more of these manufacturing innovation hubs all across the country.  And Congress should pass Sherrod’s bill.  We should be doing everything we can to guarantee the next revolution in manufacturing happens right here in Cuyahoga, happens right here in Ohio, happens right here in America.  (Applause.)

And let me make one last point.  We have to do everything we can to make sure every American has access to quality, affordable health care, period.  (Applause.)  You may have read we had some problems last month with websites.  I’m not happy about that.  And then I had a press conference today and I said, you know what, we fumbled the ball in terms of the rollout.

But we always knew this was going to be hard.  There’s a reason why folks had tried to do it for 100 years and hadn’t done it.  And it’s complicated.  There are a lot of players involved.  The status quo is entrenched.  And so, yes, there’s no question the rollout on the Affordable Care Act was much tougher than we expected.  But I want everybody here to understand, I am going to see this through.  (Applause.)  I want millions of Americans to make sure that they’re not going broke when they get sick and they can go to a doctor when their kids get sick.  And we’re not apologizing for that.  We are going to get this done.  (Applause.)

So we’re going to get the website working the way it’s supposed to.  The plans are already out there that are affordable and people can get tax credits.  We’re going to help folks whose old plans have been canceled by the insurers — many of them weren’t very good — and we’re going to make sure that they can get newer, better options.

But we’re not going to go back to the old system, because the old system was broken.  And every year, thousands of Americans would get dropped from coverage or denied their medical history or exposed to financial ruin.  You guys are lucky that you work at a company with a strong union that gives you good health benefits.  (Applause.)  But you know friends and family members who don’t have it, and you know what it’s like when they get sick.  You know how scary it is for them when they get sick.  Or some of them have health insurance — they think they do — and they get sick, and suddenly the insurance company says, oh, I’m sorry, you owe $50,000.  That’s not covered.  Or they jack up your premium so you can’t afford it because you had some sort of preexisting condition.  That happens every day.

So we’re not going to let that happen.  We’re not going to let folks who pay their premiums on time get jerked around.  And we’re not going to walk away from the 40 million Americans without health insurance.  (Applause.)  We are not going to gut this law.  We will fix what needs to be fixed, but we’re going to make the Affordable Care Act work.  And those who say they’re opposed to it and can’t offer a solution, we’ll push back.  (Applause.)

I got to give your Governor a little bit of credit.  John Kasich, along with a lot of state legislators who are here today, they expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.  And think about that.  Just that one step means as many as 275,000 Ohioans are going to have health insurance.  And it doesn’t depend on a website.  That’s already happening because of the Affordable Care Act.  (Applause.)

And I think it’s fair to say that the Governor didn’t do it because he just loves me so much.  (Laughter.)  We don’t agree on much, but he saw, well, this makes sense — why wouldn’t we do this?  Why wouldn’t we make sure that hundreds of thousands of people right here in Ohio have some security?  It was the right thing to do.  And, by the way, if every Republican governor did what Kasich did here rather than play politics about it, you’d have another 5.4 million Americans who could get access to health care next year, regardless of what happens with the website.  That’s their decision not to do it.  And it’s the wrong decision.  They’ve got to go ahead and sign folks up.

So the bottom line is sometimes we just have to set aside the politics and focus on what’s good for people.  What’s good to grow our middle class?  What’s going to help keep plans like this growing?  What’s going to make sure we’re putting more people back to work?  What’s going to really make a difference in terms of our kids getting a great education?

And, look, we’ve done it before.  That’s the good news.  The good news is that America is — look, we make mistakes.  We have our differences.  Our politics get screwed up sometimes.  Websites don’t work sometimes.  (Laughter.)  But we just keep going.  We didn’t become the greatest nation on Earth by accident.  We did it because we did what it took to make sure our families could succeed, make sure our businesses could succeed, make sure our communities could succeed.  And if you don’t believe me, listen to one of your coworkers.

So Sherrod Brown, earlier this year, brought a special guest along with him to the State of the Union address — one of your coworkers, Cookie Hall.  Where’s Cookie?  Is Cookie here?

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  No, she’s back at the hall.

THE PRESIDENT:  She’s back at the hall working.  (Laughter.)  Well, let me say something nice about her behind her back.  (Laughter.)  So Cookie said, one of — let me make sure I can find this.  She said — that night she said, “If I get a chance to meet President Obama, I’ll tell him my greatest pride is in our 2012 production record at Cleveland Works.  We’re the most productive steelworkers in the world.”  (Applause.)  More than a ton of steel produced for every single one of the workers at this plant.  That’s pretty good.  That’s pretty good.  (Applause.)

So all of you are an example of what we do when we put our minds to it.  This plant was closed for a while.  We go through hard times.  And a lot of our friends are still going through hard times.  But when we work at it, we know we can get to a better place, and we can restore some security to a middle class that was forged in plants just like this one, and keep giving ladders of opportunity for folks who were willing to work hard to get into the middle class.  That’s what I’m about.  That’s what this plant is about.  I’m proud to be with you.

And as long as I have the honor of being your President, I’m going to be waking up every single day thinking about how I can keep on helping folks like the ones who work in this plant.  (Applause.)

God bless you.  Thank you.  God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.  Thank you.

END                 4:02 P.M. EST

Political Musings August 5, 2013: Canadian PM Stephen Harper defends XL Keystone pipeline as job creator countering President Obama’s statement





Harper defends XL Keystone pipeline as job creator countering Obama’s statement

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke to the press from Quebec City on August 2, 2013 about the safety and job creation the oil pipelines projects would create. Harper discussed his support for the Energy East project, an West-East… READ MORE

Full Text Political Headlines June 1, 2013: GOP Weekly Address: Alaska Governor Sean Parnell Talks Energy, Keystone Pipeline



GOP Address: Alaska Governor Talks Energy, Keystone Pipeline

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-1-13

Governor’s Office

Hello, I’m Sean Parnell, governor of the great state of Alaska.

If you’ve spent much time watching the dysfunction and gridlock in Washington, D.C., you may have lost faith.

And yet, across the country, Republican governors have another story: We are balancing budgets, reducing regulations, cutting taxes, and growing our economies, all the while working across the aisle.

Chief Executive Magazine recently released its annual survey of the best states for business. The result?  The top ten are all managed by Republican governors.

You see, when states encourage and grow economic opportunity, despite the federal quagmire of damaging regulations, our entire nation benefits.

Today I want to focus on energy. I want to focus on what local, state and federal governments can do to ensure safe, reliable and affordable access to it.

First, we need to address some basic, but critical questions:

Is it better for the U.S. to import energy—or to export it?

Is it a good public policy for Americans to be employed to produce our energy—or simply consume it?

Can and should America be energy independent?

Most Americans agree that energy independence is good for America, for both national security and our balance of trade. But we need our President to allow our nation to grow the energy economy for the benefit of our families.  The Republican House has acted; it’s time for the Democratic controlled Senate to do the same.

Let me give you some examples.

Alaska—one of the world’s great hydrocarbon basins—we’re doing our part to secure America’s energy future.

In our most recent 90-day legislative session, the most productive in a generation, Alaskans worked together across party lines to make Alaska more competitive in a global environment. We reformed our state oil taxes, we modernized our state’s permitting system—all with the goal of creating more opportunities for our people from Alaska’s vast resources.

In our state, the Alaska Energy Comeback has begun, a comeback that will lead to a brighter economic future for the entire U.S. economy, but we didn’t just stop with state lands. We know our nation’s federal lands contain riches that should be unlocked for the benefit of all Americans.

Too often, however, the federal government is less than nimble about permitting projects on its own lands. Permitting delays by the Obama administration means delayed job creation for Americans.

So just last week I offered our state’s expertise and our financial commitment to evaluate the energy and economic potential from oil-rich federal lands.

Alaska is offering to pay a part of exploration of federal lands in Alaska for energy potential. Now, Alaska developed a comprehensive Oil and Gas Exploration Proposal for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, otherwise known as ANWR. It details a seven-year exploration plan to complete studies and exploration on this federal land.

And for this effort, I’m prepared to seek up to $50 million from the Alaska Legislature to help the federal government pay for developing this valuable information from its own land.

Now, we’ve had this ANWR debate—but the federal government does not have current data on its true energy potential. What we propose is a fact-finding mission on federal lands with the State of Alaska covering up to one-third of the cost, so Americans have the facts on ANWR, and can understand what’s at stake for the country.

This is just one example of how Republican governors are trailblazing the path to the future. The President and his allies in Congress have many such examples to emulate.

Recently the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, along with 19 Democrats, passed legislation to approve the Keystone Pipeline, which will create up to 20,000 domestic jobs and transport oil and gas from Canada to the southern U.S. for refining. Now, it’s time for the Democratic-led U.S. Senate to pass this bill—or at least allow it an up or down vote.

This common sense energy infrastructure project is truly shovel-ready, and yet the White House threatened it with a veto. The project could already be well underway, but the State Department has unnecessarily delayed the project for years.

And then there’s offshore energy—and there’s a lot of it out there. Coastal governors have gathered together as a coalition to unite behind responsibly unlocking offshore energy development. Each of the eight governors in our coastal states coalition is frustrated by the lack of coordination, by the endless delays and politically motivated inaction by federal agencies.

While the federal government wastes precious taxpayer dollars on green energy boondoggles that have collapsed in failure and bankruptcy, many with no benefit to America, access to federal lands has been consistently blocked by this administration. Offshore drilling has been stalled. Permitting for energy that can restore jobs across America is delayed. That’s not the ‘all of the above’ energy strategy that the President promised.

You may have heard that, under the Obama administration, energy production is up. Well, it’s important to note this is only because it is increasing on private lands, while production on federal lands, which belong to you, the taxpayer, has dropped dramatically.

Alaska and many of the other energy states are focused on responsible and safe oil and gas development.

And as with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, the opportunity is there: If Washington, D.C. would start working with states to unlock access to federal lands, an economic boom would be felt across this nation, lifting wages, and creating hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs and improving our national security through energy independence.

Alaska and many of America’s governors are leading our country’s energy revolution. America’s resources belong to Americans. They should be unlocked for our benefit and not locked up by Washington.

Thanks for listening, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

Political Headlines March 15, 2013: President Barack Obama Warns of Sequester Impact on Energy Research in Speech Calling for Additional Energy Spending





Obama Warns of Sequester Impact on Energy Research

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-15-13


While calling for $2 billion in additional energy research spending Friday, President Obama warned of how the sequester cuts could cause the United States to fall behind in research and development in the energy sector during an event at a laboratory just outside of Chicago….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency March 15, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on American Energy & Increasing Research Spending at Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Illinois



Remarks by the President on American Energy — Lemont, Illinois

Source: WH, 3-15-13 

Argonne National Laboratory
Lemont, Illinois

1:31 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  Hello, Illinois!  Hello!  It is good to be home!  (Applause.)

Well, let me begin by thanking Ann for the great introduction, the great work she’s doing, the leadership she’s showing with her team on so many different, amazing technological breakthroughs.  I want to thank Dr. Isaacs and Dr. Crabtree for giving me a great tour of your facilities.

It’s not every day that I get to walk into a thermal test chamber.  (Laughter.)  I told my girls that I was going to go into a thermal test chamber and they were pretty excited.  I told them I’d come out looking like the Hulk.  (Laughter.)  They didn’t believe that.

I want to thank my friend and your friend — a truly great U.S. Senator, Senator Dick Durbin — huge supporter of Argonne.  (Applause.)  An outstanding member of Congress who actually could explain some of the stuff that’s going on here — Bill Foster is here.  (Applause.)  Congressman Bobby Rush, a big supporter of Argonne — glad he’s here.  (Applause.)  We’ve got a number of state and local officials with us, including your Mayor, Brian Reaves.  (Applause.)

And I could not come to Argonne without bringing my own Nobel Prize-winning scientist, someone who has served our country so well over the past four years — our Energy Secretary, Dr. Steven Chu.  (Applause.)

Now, I’m here today to talk about what should be our top priority as a nation, and that’s reigniting the true engine of America’s economic growth — a rising, thriving middle class and an economy built on innovation.  In my State of the Union address, I said our most important task was to drive that economic growth, and I meant it.  And every day, we should be asking ourselves three questions:  How do we make America a magnet for good jobs?  How do we equip our people with the skills and training to do those jobs?  And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?

Those of you who have chairs — I wasn’t sure everybody had chairs there.  (Laughter.)  Please feel free to sit down — I’m sorry.  Everybody was standing and I thought Argonne — one of the effects of the sequester, you had to — (laughter) — get rid of chairs.  (Applause.)  That’s good, I’m glad we’ve got some chairs.

So I chose Argonne National Lab because right now, few areas hold more promise for creating good jobs and growing our economy than how we use American energy.

After years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to take control of our energy future.  We produce more oil than we have in 15 years.  We import less oil than we have in 20 years.  We’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy that we generate from sources like wind and solar — with tens of thousands of good jobs to show for it.  We’re producing more natural gas than we ever have before — with hundreds of thousands of good jobs to show for it.  We supported the first new nuclear power plant in America since the 1970s.  And we’re sending less carbon pollution into the environment than we have in nearly 20 years.

So we’re making real progress across the board.  And it’s possible, in part, because of labs like this and outstanding scientists like so many of you, entrepreneurs, innovators — all of you who are working together to take your discoveries and turn them into a business.

So think about this:  Just a few years ago, the American auto industry was flat-lining.  Today, thanks in part to discoveries made right here at Argonne, some of the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, pretty spiffy cars in the world are once again designed, engineered and built here in the United States.

And that’s why we have to keep investing in scientific research.  It’s why we have to maintain our edge — because the work you’re doing today will end up in the products that we make and sell tomorrow.  You’re helping to secure our energy future.  And if we do it well, then that’s going to help us avoid some of the perils of climate change and leave a healthier planet for our kids.  But to do it, we’ve got to make sure that we’re making the right choices in Washington.

Just the other day, Dr. Isaacs and directors of two of our other national laboratories wrote about the effects of the so-called sequester — these across-the-board budget cuts put in place two weeks ago — and specifically the effects it will have on America’s scientific research.  And one of the reasons I was opposed to these cuts is because they don’t distinguish between wasteful programs and vital investments.  They don’t trim the fat; they cut into muscle and into bone — like research and development being done right here that not only gives a great place for young researchers to come and ply their trade, but also ends up creating all kinds of spinoffs that create good jobs and good wages.

So Dr. Isaacs said these cuts will force him to stop any new project that’s coming down the line.  And I’m quoting him now — he says, “This sudden halt on new starts will freeze American science in place while the rest of the world races forward, and it will knock a generation of young scientists off their stride, ultimately costing billions of dollars in missed future opportunities.”  I mean, essentially because of this sequester, we’re looking at two years where we don’t start new research.  And at a time when every month you’ve got to replace your smartphone because something new has come up, imagine what that means when China and Germany and Japan are all continuing to plump up their basic research, and we’re just sitting there doing nothing.

We can’t afford to miss these opportunities while the rest of the world races forward.  We have to seize these opportunities.  I want the next great job-creating breakthroughs — whether it’s in energy or nanotechnology or bioengineering — I want those breakthroughs to be right here in the United States of America, creating American jobs and maintaining our technological lead.  (Applause.)

So I just want to be clear — these cuts will harm, not help, our economy.  They aren’t the smart way to cut our deficits.  And that’s why I’m reaching out to Republicans and Democrats to come together around a balanced approach, a smart, phased-in approach to deficit reduction that includes smart spending cuts and entitlement reforms and new revenue, and that won’t hurt our middle class or slow economic growth.  And if we do that, then we can move beyond governing from crisis to crisis to crisis, and we keep our focus on policies that actually create jobs and grow our economy, and move forward to face all of the other challenges we face, from fixing our broken immigration system to educating our kids to keeping them safe from gun violence.

And few pieces of business are more important for us than getting our energy future right.  So here at Argonne, and other labs around the country, scientists are working on getting us where we need to get 10 years from now, 20 years from now.  Today, what most Americans feel first when it comes to energy prices — or energy issues are prices that they pay at the pump. And over the past few weeks, we saw — we went through another spike in gas prices.  And people are nodding here.  They weren’t happy about it.  The problem is this happens every year.  It happened last year, the year before that.  And it’s a serious blow to family budgets.  It feels like you’re getting hit with a new tax coming right out of your pocket.  And every time it happens, politicians — they dust off their three-point plans for $2 gas, but nothing happens and then we go through the same cycle again.

But here’s the thing:  Over the past four years, we haven’t just talked about it, we’ve actually started doing something about it.  We’ve worked with the auto companies to put in place the toughest fuel economy standards in our history.  And what that means is, by the middle of the next decade, our cars will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  And the standards that we set are part of what’s driving some of the amazing scientists and engineers who are working here at Argonne Labs.  We’ve set some achievable but ambitious goals.  So in the middle of the next decade, we expect that you’ll fill up half as often, which means you spend half as much.  And over the life of a new car, the average family will save more than $8,000 at the pump.  That’s worth applauding.  That’s big news.  (Applause.)

In fact, a new report issued today shows that America is becoming a global leader in advanced vehicles.  You walk into any dealership today, and you’ll see twice as many hybrids to choose from as there were five years ago.  You’ll see seven times as many cars that can go 40 miles a gallon or more.  And as costs go down, sales are going up.

Last year, General Motors sold more hybrid vehicles than ever before.  Ford is selling some of the most fuel-efficient cars so quickly that dealers are having a tough time keeping up with the demand.  So by investing in our energy security, we’re helping our businesses succeed and we’re creating good middle-class jobs right here in America.

So we’re making progress, but the only way to really break this cycle of spiking gas prices, the only way to break that cycle for good is to shift our cars entirely — our cars and trucks — off oil.  That’s why, in my State of the Union address, I called on Congress to set up an Energy Security Trust to fund research into new technologies that will help us reach that goal.
Now, I’d like to take credit for this idea because it’s a good idea, but I can’t.  Basically, my proposal builds off a proposal that was put forward by a non-partisan coalition that includes retired generals and admirals and leading CEOs.  And these leaders came together around a simple idea — much of our energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together.  So what they’ve proposed is let’s take some of our oil and gas revenues from public lands and put it towards research that will benefit the public so we can support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit.

We can support scientists who are designing new engines that are more energy efficient; support scientists that are developing cheaper batteries that can go farther on a single charge; support scientists and engineers that are devising new ways to fuel our cars and trucks with new sources of clean energy — like advanced biofuels and natural gas — so drivers can one day go coast to coast without using a drop of oil.

And the reason so many different people from the private sector, the public sector, our military support this idea is because it’s not just about saving money; it’s also about saving the environment, but it’s also about our national security.  For military officials — like General Paul Kelley, a former Commandant of the Marine Corps — this is about national security.  Our reliance on oil makes us way too dependent on other parts of the world, many of which are very volatile.  For business leaders — like Fred Smith, the CEO of FedEx — this is about economic security, because when fuel prices shoot up, it’s harder to plan investments, expand operations, create new jobs.

So these leaders all say we need to fix this.  This is not a Democratic idea or a Republican idea.  This is just a smart idea. And we should be taking their advice.  Let’s set up an Energy Security Trust that helps us free our families and our businesses from painful spikes in gas once and for all.  (Applause.)  Let’s do that.  We can do it.  We’ve done it before.  We innovated here at Argonne.

And in the meantime, we’ll keep moving on the all-of-the-above energy strategy that we’ve been working on for the last couple years, where we’re producing more oil and gas here at home but we’re also producing more biofuels, we’re also producing more fuel-efficient vehicles; more solar power; more wind power.  We’re working to make sure that here in America we’re building cars and homes and businesses that waste less energy.

We can do this.  The nature of America’s miraculous rise has been our drive, our restless spirit, our willingness to reach out to new horizons, our willingness to take risks, our willingness to innovate.  We are not satisfied just because things — this is how things have been.  We’re going to try something that maybe we just imagine now, but if we work at it, we’ll achieve it.  That’s the nature of America.  That’s what Argonne National Lab is about.  That’s what this facility is about.  (Applause.)

Two decades ago, scientists at Argonne, led by Mike Thackeray, who’s here today — where is Mike?  There he is right here.  (Applause.)  Mike started work on a rechargeable lithium battery for cars.  And some folks at the time said the idea wasn’t worth the effort.  They said that even if you had the technology, the car would cost too much, it wouldn’t go far enough.

But Mike and his team knew better.  They knew you could do better.  And America, our government, our federal government made it a priority, and we funded those efforts.  And Mike went to work.  And when others gave up, the team kept on at it.  And when development hit a snag, the team found solutions.  And a few years ago, all of this hard work paid off, and scientists here at Argonne helped create a lithium ion battery that costs less, lasts longer than any that had come before.

So what was just an idea two decades ago is now rolling off assembly lines in cutting-edge fuel efficient cars that you can plug in at night.  Well, imagine all the ideas right now with all of these young scientists and engineers that 20 years ago — or 20 years from now will be offering solutions to our problems that we can’t even comprehend — as long as we’re still funding these young scientists and engineers; as long as the pipeline for research is maintained; as long as we recognize there are some things we do together as a country because individually we can’t do it — and, by the way, the private sector on its own will not invest in this research because it’s too expensive.  It’s too risky.  They can’t afford it in terms of their bottom lines.

So we’ve got to support it.  And we’ll all benefit from it, and our kids will benefit from it, and our grandkids will benefit from it.  That’s who we are.  That’s been the American story.

We don’t stand still, we look forward.  We invent.  We build.  We turn new ideas into new industries.  We change the way we can live our lives here at home and around the world.  That’s how we sent a man to the moon.  That’s how we invented the Internet.

When somebody tells us we can’t, we say, yes we can.  And I’m telling all of you, I am absolutely confident that America is poised to succeed in the same way as long as we don’t lose that spirit of innovation and recognize that we can only do it together.  And I’m going to work as hard as I can every single day to make sure that we do.

So congratulations, Argonne.  (Applause.)  Let’s keep it up.  Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless America.

1:50 P.M. CDT

Full Text Obama Presidency February 15, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Strengthening the Economy For The Middle Class & Gun Violence at Hyde Park Career Academy Chicago, Illinois

Giving Every Child a Chance in Life

Source: WH, 2-15-13

President Obama at the Hyde Park Career Academy Chicago, Illinois, Feb. 15, 2013President Barack Obama delivers remarks to discuss proposals unveiled in the State of the Union Address that focus on strengthening the economy for the middle class and those striving to get there, at Hyde Park Academy, Chicago, Ill., Feb. 15, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama was in Chicago on Friday to talk about the importance of making sure every child in America has every chance in life to succeed. Speaking at the Hyde Park Career Academy, which is less than a mile from the Obama’s home in that city, the President discussed the recent death of Hadiyah Pendleton, a Chicago teenager who was shot just days after attending the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, DC.

Hadiyah’s parents were guests of First Lady Michelle Obama at the State of the Union address on Tuesday, where President Obama discussed the need to prevent this kind of senseless violence and protect American children. But the important goal of  keeping guns out of the hands of criminals is not enough to ensure a bright future for all of our children, and the President also laid out a plan to rebuild ladders of opportunity for every American who is willing to work hard and climb them. This includes making sure every child in America has access to high-quality pre-K, and raising the minimum wage so that no family that works hard and relies on a minimum wage is living in poverty. But creating a path into the middle class also means transforming high-poverty communities into places of opportunity that can attract private investment, improve education, and create jobs, and President Obama talked about his plan to make that happen:

And that’s why on Tuesday I announced — and that’s part of what I want to focus on here in Chicago and across the country — is my intention to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit communities in America to get them back in the game — get them back in the game.

First, we’ll work with local leaders to cut through red tape and improve things like public safety and education and housing. And we’ll bring all the resources to bear in a coordinated fashion so that we can get that tipping point where suddenly a community starts feeling like things are changing and we can come back.

Second of all, if you’re willing to play a role in a child’s education, then we’ll help you reform your schools. We want to seed more and more partnerships of the kind that Rahm is trying to set up.

Third, we’re going to help bring jobs and growth to hard-hit neighborhoods by giving tax breaks to business owners who invest and hire in those neighborhoods.

Fourth, and specific to the issue of violence — because it’s very hard to develop economically if people don’t feel safe. If they don’t feel like they can walk down the street and shop at a store without getting hit over head or worse, then commerce dries up, businesses don’t want to locate, families move out, you get into the wrong cycle. So we’re going to target neighborhoods struggling to deal with violent crime and help them reduce that violence in ways that have been proven to work. And I know this is a priority of your Mayor’s; it’s going to be a priority of mine.

And finally, we’re going to keep working in communities all across the country, including here in Chicago, to replace run-down public housing that doesn’t offer much hope or safety with new, healthy homes for low- and moderate-income families.

Learn more about President Obama’s plan for a strong middle class and a strong America:

Remarks By The President On Strengthening The Economy For The Middle Class

Hyde Park Career Academy Chicago, Illinois

3:31 P.M. CST

THE PRESIDENT: Hey, Chicago! (Applause.) Hello, Chicago! Hello, everybody. Hello, Hyde Park! (Applause.) It is good to be home! It is good to be home. Everybody have a seat. You all relax. It’s just me. You all know me. It is good to be back home.

A couple of people I want to acknowledge — first of all, I want to thank your Mayor, my great friend, Rahm Emanuel for his outstanding leadership of the city and his kind introduction. (Applause.) I want to thank everybody here at Hyde Park Academy for welcoming me here today. (Applause.)

I want to acknowledge your principal and your assistant principal — although, they really make me feel old, because when I saw them — (laughter) — where are they? Where are they? Stand up. Stand up. (Applause.) They are doing outstanding work. We’re very, very proud them. But you do make me feel old. Sit down. (Laughter.)

A couple other people I want to acknowledge — Governor Pat Quinn is here doing great work down in Springfield. (Applause.) My great friend and senior Senator Dick Durbin is in the house. (Applause.) Congressman Bobby Rush is here. (Applause.) We’re in his district. Attorney General and former seatmate of mine when I was in the state senate, Lisa Madigan. (Applause.) County Board President — used to be my alderwoman — Tony Preckwinkle in the house. (Applause.)

And I’ve got — I see a lot of reverend clergy here, but I’m not going to mention them, because if I miss one I’m in trouble. (Laughter.) They’re all friends of mine. They’ve been knowing me.

Some people may not know this, but obviously, this is my old neighborhood. I used to teach right around the corner. This is where Michelle and I met, where we fell in love –


THE PRESIDENT: This is where we raised our daughters, in a house just about a mile away from here — less than a mile. And that’s really what I’ve come here to talk about today — raising our kids.

AUDIENCE: We love you!

THE PRESIDENT: I love you, too. (Applause.) I love you, too.

I’m here to make sure that we talk about and then work towards giving every child every chance in life; building stronger communities and new ladders of opportunity that they can climb into the middle class and beyond; and, most importantly, keeping them safe from harm.

Michelle was born and raised here — a proud daughter of the South Side. (Applause.) Last weekend, she came home, but it was to attend the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton. And Hadiya’s parents, by the way, are here — and I want to just acknowledge them. They are just wonderful, wonderful people. (Applause.)

And as you know, this week, in my State of the Union, I talked about Hadiya on Tuesday night and the fact that unfortunately what happened to Hadiya is not unique. It’s not unique to Chicago. It’s not unique to this country. Too many of our children are being taken away from us.

Two months ago, America mourned 26 innocent first-graders and their educators in Newtown. And today, I had the high honor of giving the highest civilian award I can give to the parent — or the families of the educators who had been killed in Newtown. And there was something profound and uniquely heartbreaking and tragic, obviously, about a group of 6-year-olds being killed. But last year, there were 443 murders with a firearm on the streets of this city, and 65 of those victims were 18 and under. So that’s the equivalent of a Newtown every four months.

And that’s precisely why the overwhelming majority of Americans are asking for some common-sense proposals to make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. And as I said on Tuesday night, I recognize not everybody agrees with every issue. There are regional differences. The experience of gun ownership is different in urban areas than it is in rural areas, different from upstate and downstate Illinois. But these proposals deserve a vote in Congress. They deserve a vote. (Applause.) They deserve a vote. And I want to thank those members of Congress who are working together in a serious way to try to address this issue.

But I’ve also said no law or set of laws can prevent every senseless act of violence in this country. When a child opens fire on another child, there’s a hole in that child’s heart that government can’t fill — only community and parents and teachers and clergy can fill that hole. In too many neighborhoods today — whether here in Chicago or the farthest reaches of rural America — it can feel like for a lot of young people the future only extends to the next street corner or the outskirts of town; that no matter how much you work or how hard you try, your destiny was determined the moment you were born. There are entire neighborhoods where young people, they don’t see an example of somebody succeeding. And for a lot of young boys and young men, in particular, they don’t see an example of fathers or grandfathers, uncles, who are in a position to support families and be held up and respected.

And so that means that this is not just a gun issue. It’s also an issue of the kinds of communities that we’re building. And for that, we all share a responsibility, as citizens, to fix it. We all share a responsibility to move this country closer to our founding vision that no matter who you are, or where you come from, here in America, you can decide your own destiny. You can succeed if you work hard and fulfill your responsibilities. (Applause.)

Now, that means we’ve got to grow our economy and create more good jobs. It means we’ve got to equip every American with the skills and the training to fill those jobs. And it means we’ve got to rebuild ladders of opportunity for everybody willing to climb them.

Now, that starts at home. There’s no more important ingredient for success, nothing that would be more important for us reducing violence than strong, stable families — which means we should do more to promote marriage and encourage fatherhood. (Applause.) Don’t get me wrong — as the son of a single mom, who gave everything she had to raise me with the help of my grandparents, I turned out okay. (Applause and laughter.) But — no, no, but I think it’s — so we’ve got single moms out here, they’re heroic in what they’re doing and we are so proud of them. (Applause.) But at the same time, I wish I had had a father who was around and involved. Loving, supportive parents — and, by the way, that’s all kinds of parents — that includes foster parents, and that includes grandparents, and extended families; it includes gay or straight parents. (Applause.)

Those parents supporting kids — that’s the single most important thing. Unconditional love for your child — that makes a difference. If a child grows up with parents who have work, and have some education, and can be role models, and can teach integrity and responsibility, and discipline and delayed gratification — all those things give a child the kind of foundation that allows them to say, my future, I can make it what I want. And we’ve got to make sure that every child has that, and in some cases, we may have to fill the gap and the void if children don’t have that.

So we should encourage marriage by removing the financial disincentives for couples who love one another but may find it financially disadvantageous if they get married. We should reform our child support laws to get more men working and engaged with their children. (Applause.) And my administration will continue to work with the faith community and the private sector this year on a campaign to encourage strong parenting and fatherhood. Because what makes you a man is not the ability to make a child, it’s the courage to raise one. (Applause.)

We also know, though, that there is no surer path to success in the middle class than a good education. And what we now know is that that has to begin in the earliest years. Study after study shows that the earlier a child starts learning, the more likely they are to succeed — the more likely they are to do well at Hyde Park Academy; the more likely they are to graduate; the more likely they are to get a good job; the more likely they are to form stable families and then be able to raise children themselves who get off to a good start.

Chicago already has a competition, thanks to what the Mayor is doing, that rewards the best preschools in the city — so Rahm has already prioritized this. But what I’ve also done is say, let’s give every child across America access to high-quality, public preschool. Every child, not just some. (Applause.) Every dollar we put into early childhood education can save $7 down the road by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, reducing violent crime, reducing the welfare rolls, making sure that folks who have work, now they’re paying taxes. All this stuff pays back huge dividends if we make the investment. So let’s make this happen. Let’s make sure every child has the chance they deserve. (Applause.)

As kids go through school, we’ll recruit new math and science teachers to make sure that they’ve got the skills that the future demands. We’ll help more young people in low-income neighborhoods get summer jobs. We’ll redesign our high schools and encourage our kids to stay in high school, so that the diploma they get leads directly to a good job once they graduate. (Applause.)

Right here in Chicago, five new high schools have partnered with companies and community colleges to prepare our kids with the skills that businesses are looking for right now. And your College to Careers program helps community college students get access to the same kinds of real-world experiences. So we know what works. Let’s just do it in more places. Let’s reach more young people. Let’s give more kids a chance.

So we know how important families are. We know how important education is. We recognize that government alone can’t solve these problems of violence and poverty, that everybody has to be involved. But we also have to remember that the broader economic environment of communities is critical as well. For example, we need to make sure that folks who are working now, often in the hardest jobs, see their work rewarded with wages that allow them to raise a family without falling into poverty. (Applause.)

Today, a family with two kids that works hard and relies on a minimum wage salary still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong, and we should fix it. We should reward an honest day’s work with honest wages. And that’s why we should raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour and make it a wage you can live on. (Applause.)

And even though some cities have bounced back pretty quickly from the recession, we know that there are communities and neighborhoods within cities or in small towns that haven’t bounced back. Cities like Chicago are ringed with former factory towns that never came back all the way from plants packing up; there are pockets of poverty where young adults are still looking for their first job.

And that’s why on Tuesday I announced — and that’s part of what I want to focus on here in Chicago and across the country — is my intention to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit communities in America to get them back in the game — get them back in the game. (Applause.)

First, we’ll work with local leaders to cut through red tape and improve things like public safety and education and housing. And we’ll bring all the resources to bear in a coordinated fashion so that we can get that tipping point where suddenly a community starts feeling like things are changing and we can come back.

Second of all, if you’re willing to play a role in a child’s education, then we’ll help you reform your schools. We want to seed more and more partnerships of the kind that Rahm is trying to set up.

Third, we’re going to help bring jobs and growth to hard-hit neighborhoods by giving tax breaks to business owners who invest and hire in those neighborhoods. (Applause.)

Fourth, and specific to the issue of violence — because it’s very hard to develop economically if people don’t feel safe. If they don’t feel like they can walk down the street and shop at a store without getting hit over head or worse, then commerce dries up, businesses don’t want to locate, families move out, you get into the wrong cycle. So we’re going to target neighborhoods struggling to deal with violent crime and help them reduce that violence in ways that have been proven to work. And I know this is a priority of your Mayor’s; it’s going to be a priority of mine. (Applause.)

And finally, we’re going to keep working in communities all across the country, including here in Chicago, to replace run-down public housing that doesn’t offer much hope or safety with new, healthy homes for low- and moderate-income families. (Applause.)

And here in Woodlawn, you’ve seen some of the progress that we can make when we come together to rebuild our neighborhoods, and attract new businesses, and improve our schools. Woodlawn is not all the way where it needs to be, but thanks to wonderful institutions like Apostolic Church, we’ve made great progress. (Applause.)

So we want to help more communities follow your example. And let’s go even farther by offering incentives to companies that hire unemployed Americans who have got what it takes to fill a job opening, but they may have been out of work so long that nobody is willing to give them a chance right now. Let’s put our people back to work rebuilding vacant homes in need of repair. Young people can get experience — apprenticeships, learn a trade. And we’re removing blight from our community. (Applause.)

If we gather together what works, we can extend more ladders of opportunity for anybody who’s working to build a strong, middle-class life for themselves. Because in America, your destiny shouldn’t be determined by where you live, where you were born. It should be determined by how big you’re willing to dream, how much effort and sweat and tears you’re willing to put in to realizing that dream.

When I first moved to Chicago — before any of the students in this room were born — (laughter) — and a whole lot of people who are in the audience remember me from those days, I lived in a community on the South Side right up the block, but I also worked further south where communities had been devastated by some of the steel plants closing. And my job was to work with churches and laypeople and local leaders to rebuild neighborhoods, and improve schools, and help young people who felt like they had nowhere to turn.

And those of you who worked with me, Reverend Love, you remember, it wasn’t easy. Progress didn’t come quickly. Sometimes I got so discouraged I thought about just giving up. But what kept me going was the belief that with enough determination and effort and persistence and perseverance, change is always possible; that we may not be able to help everybody, but if we help a few then that propels progress forward. We may not be able to save every child from gun violence, but if we save a few, that starts changing the atmosphere in our communities. (Applause.) We may not be able to get everybody a job right away, but if we get a few folks a job, then everybody starts feeling a little more hopeful and a little more encouraged. (Applause.) Neighborhood by neighborhood, one block by one block, one family at a time.

Now, this is what I had a chance to talk about when I met with some young men from Hyde Park Academy who were participating in this B.A.M. program. Where are the guys I talked to? Stand up you all, so we can all see you guys. (Applause.) So these are some — these are all some exceptional young men, and I couldn’t be prouder of them. And the reason I’m proud of them is because a lot of them have had some issues. That’s part of the reason why you guys are in the program. (Laughter.)

But what I explained to them was I had issues too when I was their age. I just had an environment that was a little more forgiving. So when I screwed up, the consequences weren’t as high as when kids on the South Side screw up. (Applause.) So I had more of a safety net. But these guys are no different than me, and we had that conversation about what does it take to change. And the same thing that it takes for us individually to change, I said to them, well, that’s what it takes for communities to change. That’s what it takes for countries to change. It’s not easy.

But it does require us, first of all, having a vision about where we want to be. It requires us recognizing that it will be hard work getting there. It requires us being able to overcome and persevere in the face of roadblocks and disappointments and failures. It requires us reflecting internally about who we are and what we believe in, and facing up to our own fears and insecurities, and admitting when we’re wrong. And that same thing that we have to do in our individual lives that these guys talked about, that’s what we have to do for our communities. And it will not be easy, but it can be done.

When Hadiya Pendleton and her classmates visited Washington three weeks ago, they spent time visiting the monuments — including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial just off the National Mall. And that memorial stands as a tribute to everything Dr. King achieved in his lifetime. But it also reminds us of how hard that work was and how many disappointments he experienced. He was here in Chicago fighting poverty, and just like a lot of us, there were times where he felt like he was losing hope. So in some ways, that memorial is a testament not to work that’s completed, but it’s a testament to the work that remains unfinished.

His goal was to free us not only from the shackles of discrimination, but from the shadow of poverty that haunts too many of our communities, the self-destructive impulses, and the mindless violence that claims so many lives of so many innocent young people.

These are difficult challenges. No solution we offer will be perfect. But perfection has never been our goal. Our goal has been to try and make whatever difference we can. Our goal has been to engage in the hard but necessary work of bringing America one step closer to the nation we know we can be.

If we do that, if we’re striving with every fiber of our being to strengthen our middle class, to extend ladders of opportunity for everybody who is trying as hard as they can to create a better life for themselves; if we do everything in our power to keep our children safe from harm; if we’re fulfilling our obligations to one another and to future generations; if we make that effort, then I’m confident — I’m confident that we will write the next great chapter in our American story. I’m not going to be able to do it by myself, though. Nobody can. We’re going to have to do it together.

Thank you, everybody. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

END        3:58 P.M. CST

Full Text Political Headlines February 9, 2013: GOP Weekly Address: Senator Lisa Murkowski’s New Energy ‘Blueprint’





GOP Address: Sen. Murkowski’s New Energy ‘Blueprint’

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-9-13

US Senate

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, delivers this week’s Republican address, in which she discusses her “blueprint” for more “abundant, affordable, clean, diverse, and secure” energy….READ MORE

Hi, I’m Senator Lisa Murkowski from the state of Alaska.  In this new Congress I continue to serve as the lead Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and today I want to discuss the tremendous opportunities that await us in those areas.

Energy has been a source of anxiety for our nation since the 1970s.  And yet thanks to new technologies, an era of scarcity is quickly giving way to one of abundance.  We now have a 90-year supply of natural gas, enough oil to eliminate OPEC imports for decades, and a broad range of promising options for alternatives and efficiency.  There may never have been a time when America has had more potential for energy production—or better ability to use our energy wisely.

But of course, we recognize all is not well.  Energy production on public lands owned by the federal government either stayed flat or fell in recent years.  America’s energy infrastructure has aged, the price of oil is high, and the need for reliable energy has never been more urgent.  Projects are too often hamstrung by burdensome regulations, delayed permits, and overzealous litigation.  Our energy situation has improved in some respects, but we can still demand better.

In fact, we should demand better.

To take full advantage of our energy opportunities—and to face up to our energy challenges—this week I released a report entitled, Energy 20/20: A Vision for America’s Energy Future.  It’s based on a simple insight: energy is good.  Energy provides the basis of modern society and allows us to lead comfortable and productive lives.  It allows us to produce food and manufacture and communicate.  As we found out during the power outage at the Super Bowl, it’s also pretty important to professional football.

Energy is not a necessary evil.  Energy is good.  And that’s why it is in our national interest to make energy abundant, affordable, clean, diverse, and secure.  I believe that there’s a consensus around these five objectives, and our challenge now is to align federal policy with them.

To accomplish that, my blueprint offers some 200 recommendations.  These span the spectrum of resources and reforms, from the immediate approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to a trust fund for energy research that is paid for with the revenues from new production.

Every recommendation in my blueprint is associated with a clear goal for the year 2020.  We can end our dependence on OPEC oil.  We can help make renewable energy more competitive, build on our efficiency gains, and re-establish the supply chain for critical minerals.  We can ensure that research, and not endless regulation, is the force behind technological innovation.  Through sensible regulatory reforms, we can prevent the misuse of environmental laws and allow projects to proceed—and all the while maintaining the highest environmental standards in the world.

The ideas in my blueprint would create new jobs, generate new revenues, and slash our dependence on foreign energy.  They would shore up our security and strengthen our economy.  They would help us minimize the impacts of energy development and reduce the emissions that are blamed for climate change.

Now, it is true that my blueprint does not rely on new mandates or new regulations to achieve these goals.  And it doesn’t drive up taxes or energy prices.  It doesn’t limit choice or lavish subsidies.  Now, there are some who continue to believe that those options represent the best or perhaps the only path forward.  But that’s wrong.  There is a resource that must be protected, left untapped and undisturbed—and that’s you, the American taxpayer.

It’s fair to say that not every member of Congress will support every proposal in my blueprint.  And that’s why I describe it as a conversation starter.  It’s intended to provoke a new and a better discussion about energy, to recognize how bright our future can be, and to provide a prudent alternative to the heavy-handed approaches coming from the Administration and the EPA.

We can do better.  We can renew and reimagine our energy policies. And now that we have a blueprint that can help guide the way.

I want to thank you for listening.  If you’re interested in reading Energy 20/20, it’s available on my committee website at energy.senate.gov. Thanks so much.

Full Text Campaign Buzz August 14, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Waterloo, Iowa




Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Waterloo, Iowa

Source: WH, 8-14-12

RiverLoop Amphitheatre
Waterloo Center for the Arts
Waterloo, Iowa

8:05 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Waterloo!  (Applause.)  What a beautiful evening here in Iowa!  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  This is spectacular!  It feels good to be back.  (Applause.)

A couple of acknowledgments I want to make — first of all, Mike is a pretty humble guy, but this is the Iowa Firefighter of the Year.  Give him a big round of applause for that great introduction.  (Applause.)   We are proud of him, and every single firefighter that puts their life at risk for us.  We are grateful to them.

A couple other outstanding folks here — you’ve got your own Attorney General, Tom Miller, in the house.  (Applause.)  Congressman Bruce Braley is here.  (Applause.) And Mayor Buck Clark is here.  (Applause.)  And all of you are here.  (Applause.)

Now, listen, if you’ve got a seat, feel free to sit down, because I’ve got some things to say.  I’ve got some things to say.  First of all, it is good to be back.  Some of you may remember that one of my first stops after I announced for the presidency was right here in Waterloo.  (Applause.)  Back — way back when in 2007.  I had no gray hair.  (Laughter.)  Maybe I had a little bit, but you couldn’t see it.  (Laughter.)  Now you can see it.

But the reason that’s important, it’s worth reminding people, is because it was on your front, it was in your backyards, where our movement for change began.  We spent a lot of time on bus tours like the one I’m taking right now — although the bus wasn’t as nice as it is now.  (Laughter.)  And we went to school gyms and family farms and small businesses across the state.  And so it was pretty good being back here — yesterday I went to the State Fair and I had a pork chop and a beer.  (Applause.)  And it was good.  (Laughter.)  Today I just had a beer.  (Laughter.)  I didn’t get the pork chop.  But the beer was good, too.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I’ll fry you a pork chop!

THE PRESIDENT:  You say you’ll fry me a pork chop, huh?  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Four more beers?

THE PRESIDENT:  Somebody just said — it’s true, at the State Fair, instead of saying “four more years,” they were saying, “four more beers.”  (Laughter.)  So I bought him four more beers.  (Laughter.)  Told him he had to register to vote, though, to get one of the beers.  (Laughter.)

Now, here’s the thing.  The reason I’m back — other than I just love being in Iowa — (applause) — the reason I’m back is because that journey we started in 2008, we’re not finished yet. (Applause.)  So just like we did in 2007, we started over in Council Bluffs, and we are driving all the way to the Quads.  And we want to make sure that everybody understands the choice that you face in November.

And this choice could not be bigger, because it’s not just a choice between two candidates; it’s not just a choice between two parties.  More than any recent election, more than 2008, this is a choice between two fundamentally different visions of where we need to go as a country.


THE PRESIDENT:  And the direction that you choose when you walk into that voting booth in November, that’s going to have an impact not just on your lives, it will have an impact on your children and your grandchildren for decades to come.

Now, remember why we came together in 2008.  And it was Democrats and independents, but it was also some Republicans.  It was because we saw that the basic bargain that built this country, that created the most prosperous economy the world has ever known, that basic bargain wasn’t being met.  And let me tell you what that bargain is.  It says that if you work hard, your work should be rewarded.  (Applause.)  It says that if you act responsibly and you put in enough effort, you can find a job that pays the bills.  (Applause.)  You can have a home that you call your own.  You won’t go broke just because somebody in your family gets sick.  You can retire with dignity and respect.  (Applause.)  And most importantly, you can give your kids a great education so they can dream even bigger and do even better than you did.  (Applause.)

That is the American promise.  That is what made this country great.  But the problem was, for a decade we had seen that bargain wasn’t being met.  The promise wasn’t being kept.  So we had seen a decade in which jobs were being shipped overseas, and wages and incomes for working people were going down — even though folks at the very top were doing very well — and the costs of everything from health care to college were going up.  We ran two wars on a credit card.  We went from surplus to deficit.  So when I walked into office we already had a $1 trillion deficit.  And it all culminated in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

That’s the track record of the other party the last time they were in charge.  And we knew that restoring the bargain that made this country great would not be easy.  It was going to take more than one year, or one term, or even more than one President, but we knew we had to get started.  And obviously it became that much harder when the middle class was hammered by this crisis, because a lot of folks lost jobs, lost homes, lost savings, and that American Dream seemed even further out of reach.

But I told you there wouldn’t be any quick fixes, there wouldn’t be any easy solutions, but what I also promised you — and I absolutely believe this — is we’ve got everything we need to meet our challenges.  (Applause.)  Waterloo, we’ve still got the best workers in the world.  (Applause.)  And the best entrepreneurs in the world.  We’ve got the best scientists, and the best researchers in the world.  We’ve got the best farmers in the world.  We’ve got the best colleges and universities in the world.  (Applause.)  We are still a young nation, full of promise, and we’ve got the greatest diversity of talent and ingenuity from every corner of the globe.

So no matter what the naysayers say, no matter how dark they try to paint things when they’re running against me in an election, there is not another country on Earth that wouldn’t trade places with the United States of America.  (Applause.)  Because people around the world still believe that America is the place where, if you work hard, no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, you can still make it.  (Applause.)

That’s the idea that we are running to rebuild.  That is the campaign.  That is what my presidency is about.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, Waterloo, there is one thing standing in our way, though.  It is strange politics in Washington.  You’ve got a party that says “compromise” is a dirty word.  Folks who want to go back to the same top-down economics that got us into this mess in the first place.

You may have heard my opponent chose as his running mate Congressman Ryan this weekend and –


THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, no, listen, I know Congressman Ryan. He is a decent man.  He is a family man.  He is the ideological leader of the Republicans in Congress.  And he’s an articulate spokesperson for Governor Romney’s vision.  The problem his vision is wrong.  (Applause.)  See, my opponent, Governor Romney, and his friends in Congress, they believe — this is their whole platform, this is their basic plan, as much detail as you get, this is what you get.  Their plan to grow the economy is to eliminate regulations, including on big banks and insurance companies — some of the regulations we put in place to make sure, for example, that we don’t have another taxpayer-funded bailout, so he wants to get rid of regulations, and then what he wants to do is give more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. And the idea, then, is that jobs and prosperity will trickle down on everybody.  That’s the centerpiece of his plan.  You can go on his website.

His economic plan is a new $5 trillion tax cut, a lot of it going to the wealthiest Americans.  Now, keep in mind, these are the same folks who say the deficit is our biggest problem, but they want to pass a new $5 trillion tax cut — $5 trillion, that’s with a “t” — (laughter.)  So just to give you some perspective, our annual defense budget, everything we spend on national security, is just a little over $500 billion.  So this would be, every year for 10 years, a tax cut as big as our defense spending.

And here’s the kicker, though — he says he’s going to pay for it.  So people asked, well, how are you going to pay for it? It turns out that he expects you to pay for it.


THE PRESIDENT:  He expects middle-class families to pick up the tab.  Governor Romney’s plan, according to independent analysts, would actually raise taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of $2,000.


THE PRESIDENT:  Now, keep in mind this is not $2,000 to reduce the deficit, or create jobs, or build new schools, or help kids go to college, or send a man to the moon.  This is $2,000 each that you’d have to pay to give another $250,000 tax cut to folks who are making $3 million a year or more.


AUDIENCE MEMBER:  That’s crazy!  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, I’m not making this stuff up.  You can look on their website.

Now, here’s the thing — we’ve tried this before.  We tried this trickle-down fairy dust before.  And guess what — it didn’t work then, it won’t work now.  It’s not a plan to create jobs.  It’s not a plan to lower the deficit.  It’s not a plan to move our economy forward.  It’s not a plan to revive the middle class.
We do not need more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.  We need to give tax relief to working families who are trying to raise their kids, keep them healthy, send them to college, keep a roof over their heads.  That’s the choice in this election.  That’s one of the reasons I’m running for a second term as President.  (Applause.)

So, Waterloo, I’ve got a different idea.  Four years ago, I came into office — I promised to cut taxes for middle-class families.  That’s exactly what I’ve done — by a total of about $3,600 for the typical family.  So if you talk to somebody who is feeling not convinced and undecided in the election, you tell them your taxes are lower — your federal taxes are lower now than when I came into office.  (Applause.)

Now, what I want to do is I want to keep everybody’s taxes right there where they are for the first $250,000 of everybody’s income.  (Applause.)  So if your family makes under $250,000 — like 98 percent of families do, and 97 percent of small businesses do — then you won’t see your income taxes go up by a single dime next year.  Not one dime.  (Applause.)

But if you’re fortunate enough to be in the other 2 percent — like I am — you’ll still get a tax break on your first $250,000.  But for the amount that you make over that, we’re asking you to contribute a little bit more so we can pay down our deficit without gutting education, without getting rid of transportation projects, without gutting all the things that help make America grow.

Now, government — I’ll make sure government still does its part to reduce our debt and our deficits.  We’ve cut out already a trillion dollars’ worth of spending we don’t need.  And we can do more.  I want to make government efficient.  We’ve got to make sure that your tax dollars are being well spent.  But we can’t bring down our deficit and our debt just by asking us to get rid of the things that help open up opportunity to Americans.  (Applause.)

So instead, we’re asking folks like me to go back to the rates we paid under Bill Clinton — which, by the way, was a time when we created 23 million new jobs, went from deficit to surplus, and we created a whole lot of millionaires to boot.  (Applause.)

See, Waterloo, this comes down to your basic philosophy, but also, when you look at the evidence of our economic history — when teachers and nurses and firefighters and receptionists and construction workers, when you’ve got a little more money in your pocket, what do you do?  You spend it.  Because times are tight, right?  So if you’ve got a little extra money, now maybe you finally trade in that 10-year-old car you’ve been driving.  Maybe you buy a computer for your kid who is about to go to college.  So suddenly businesses have more customers, which means they’re making more profits, which means they’re hiring more workers, who then spend more money, and suddenly the economy gets better for everybody — including folks at the top.

I don’t believe in top-down economics.  I believe in middle-class-out economics.  I believe in bottom-up economics.  I believe in making sure everybody has got a fair shot.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States of America. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  But you know what?  That’s not the only difference between me and Mr. Romney.  When the auto industry was on the brink of collapse — you remember that — more than a million jobs at stake, Governor Romney said, let’s “let Detroit go bankrupt.”  I said, let’s bet on American workers.  (Applause.)  And management and workers got together in a great, iconic American industry, and you know what?  Three years later, the American auto industry is roaring back.  (Applause.)

I want to see high-tech, advanced manufacturing come back all across America in other industries.  I don’t want those jobs in China or Germany.  I want them here in Iowa.  (Applause.)  Governor Romney says, well, no, look, I understand the economy because I’ve been in the private sector.  Well, a lot of that experience was investing in companies, including those that were called “pioneers” in the business of outsourcing.  He wants to keep giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.  I want to end those tax breaks once and for all and start rewarding companies that are investing right here in the United States of America, hiring American workers, making American products.  That’s the choice in this election.  (Applause.)

That’s not the only difference.  Right now, we’re seeing homegrown energy, new sources of energy creating jobs right here in Iowa.  So what does Governor Romney want to do?  He wants to end the tax credit for wind energy producers.  He said these new sources of energy are “imaginary.”  Congressman Ryan, his running mate, calls them a “fad.”  During a speech a few months ago, Governor Romney even explained his energy policy.  This is what he said — he said, “You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it.”  (Laughter.)  That’s what he said about wind power — you can’t drive a car with a windmill on it.  (Laughter.)  I mean, maybe he’s tried it; he’s put other things on the roof.  (Laughter and applause.)

But if he really wants to learn something about wind energy, he should come to Iowa.  (Applause.)  Then he’d know that 7,000 Iowa jobs depend on the wind industry — more than any other state in America.  (Applause.)  These jobs aren’t a “fad.”  They’re our future.  He’d know that the parts for making these high-tech wind turbines, they’re now made in Iowa.  They’re made in America.  That’s not “imaginary.”  (Applause.)  I’ve been to the places in Newton, Iowa where some of this stuff is being made.  (Applause.)

I understand he may not have figured out how to drive a car with a windmill on it, but if he came to Iowa, he’d know that 20 percent of Iowa’s electricity now comes from wind energy.  America has doubled the amount of electricity we get from wind over the last four years, enough power for nearly 13 million homes — clean, renewable energy.  That’s something you leave behind for the next generation.  That is worth fighting for.  There are 37,000 American jobs at stake in this wind energy tax credit.  We should support it.  I support it.  (Applause.)

And instead of giving $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to oil companies that are making plenty of money every time you go to the pump, we should be investing in homegrown energy that’s never been more promising.  That’s the choice in this election.  That’s why I’m running for a second term.  (Applause.)

I’m not done yet.  In 2008, I promised to end the war in Iraq — I ended it.  (Applause.)  Governor Romney said the way I ended it was “tragic”.  I said I’d go after al Qaeda and bin Laden — I went after them.  (Applause.)  We’re now beginning a transition out of Afghanistan.  And so all of this is possible only because of the extraordinary service of our men and women in uniform.  And that’s why I’ve made sure to make historic investments in the VA — because somebody who has fought for us shouldn’t have to fight for a job when they come home.  (Applause.)

But if we’re serious about them coming home to a strong economy, then we’ve got to do some building here at home, some nation-building — take half of the money that we’ve been spending over a decade of war and let’s start doing some rebuilding here in America.  (Applause.)  Let’s put Americans back to work rebuilding roads and bridges and ports and airports, laying broadband lines in rural communities.  (Applause.)  Let’s create a Veterans Jobs Corp so returning heroes can get jobs as firefighters and cops in communities that need them.

There’s a lot of work to be done right here in America, and I’m running to rebuild America.  That’s a choice in this election.  (Applause.)

And I’m running make sure America once again has the best education system in the world and the best training system for workers in the world.  (Applause.)  I want to help our schools hire and reward the best teachers, especially in math and science.  I want to give 2 million more Americans the chance to go to community colleges to train for the jobs that businesses are hiring for right now.  (Applause.)  I want to get colleges and universities to bring down the cost of tuition, so that every young person can get the kind of education that they need to succeed in the 21st century.  (Applause.)

I want to help homeowners refinance their homes, save $3,000 at these historically low rates.  Governor Romney thinks we should just let the housing market bottom out.  That’s a difference in this election.

I believe that you should have some health care security.  That’s why I passed Obamacare.  And I like Obamacare.  (Applause.)  I like the phrase “Obamacare”, because you know what, I do care.  (Applause.)  I care about all those folks with preexisting conditions who now are going to be able to get coverage.  (Applause.)  I care about folks who already have insurance, making sure insurance companies don’t jerk them around right when they need that insurance the most.  (Applause.)

I care about the 6.5 million young people who are now able to stay on their parent’s plan and don’t have to go without insurance.  (Applause.)  I care about the seniors who now have more discounts on their prescriptions drugs — and we’re closing the doughnut hole.  (Applause.)

So, Waterloo, we don’t need another two years of arguing about health care.  The Supreme Court has spoken.  We are implementing this law.  We are moving forward.  We’re not moving backwards.  (Applause.)

All these things — health care security, American manufacturing, rebuilding America and putting construction workers back to work, making sure our kids are getting a great education and can afford college — all these things that make up a middle-class life, they all tie together.  It goes back to that central idea of America, that here in this country everybody gets a fair shot, everybody does their fair share, everybody plays by the same set of rules.  It’s the same promise our parents and grandparents passed on to us.  And now, our job is to pass it on to our kids.  (Applause.)

Now, over the next three months, the other side will spend more money than we have ever seen.  Now, you noticed their ads generally don’t tell you what it is that they’re going to do, because they know their plans won’t sell.  You haven’t forgotten. You didn’t get amnesia.  (Laughter.)  You didn’t forget the last time they tried what they’re selling.

So basically, the argument that they’re going to make over and over again is just the same one, which is the economy is still not where it needs to be and it’s Obama’s fault.


THE PRESIDENT:  And you know what?  Listen, the economy is not where it needs to be.  We’ve still got too many folks out of work and too many homes underwater.  And we haven’t brought back all the jobs that need to be brought back.  But you know what, what they’re offering — it’s not a plan to create jobs.  It’s not a plan to reduce the deficit.  They don’t have a plan to grow the economy.  They don’t have a plan to revive the middle class.

The plan I’ve put forward can do that.  But I need your help.  I need your help.  (Applause.)  Your friends have to be registered.  Your family has to be registered.  You can get a voter registration form online.  Just go to GottaRegister.com.  This is not GotToRegister.com — this is g-o-t-t-a register, GottaRegister.com — (applause) — because we’ve come too far to turn back now.

We’ve been outspent before.  I’ve been counted out before.  But here’s what I know.  When all of you decide to mobilize and organize, and when you focus on those values that are best in America, when you remember the stories of your family and your parents, your grandparents — the hard work, the sacrifice — recognizing sometimes times are tough and sometimes we get knocked down but we get back up, we are determined, we are tougher than any tough times — and most importantly, that reminder that when we do things together, when we’re focused on how we build this country together, we can’t be stopped — that’s more powerful than any money.  (Applause.)  That’s more powerful than any TV commercials.

So we’ve got to keep on going, because we’ve got too many schools we still need to build; too many teachers we still need to hire; too many kids we still need to send to college.  We’ve got too many roads we still need to build; too much energy we’ve still got to generate right here at home; too many troops we’ve got to bring home; too many doors of opportunity that we’ve got to open up for every young person who’s willing to make the effort.  That’s what’s at stake right now.  (Applause.)

And if you’re willing to stand with me, and work with me, and vote for me, we will win Iowa.  (Applause.)  We will win in November.  (Applause.)  And we will finish what we started and remind the world why America is the greatest nation on Earth.

God bless you.  And God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

8:35 P.M. CDT

Full Text Obama Presidency August 14, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Shows Support for Alternative Energy at Iowa Wind Farm




Obama Shows Support for Alternative Energy at Iowa Wind Farm

Source: ABC News Radio, 8-14-12
President Obama made a surprise detour to a wind farm Tuesday, part of his ongoing effort to tout his support for one of this swing state’s top industries.

“At a moment when we want to pursue every avenue for job creation, it’s homegrown energy like wind that’s creating good, new jobs in states like Iowa,” the president told reporters after touring the wind turbines on the Heil Family Farm, which harvests enough wind to power an estimated 30,000 Iowa homes….READ MORE

Remarks by the President on Wind Energy

Source: WH, 8-14-12 

Heil Family Farm
Haverhill, Iowa

2:55 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I want to thank Jeff Heil and his father, Richard, for showing me around the farm.  And I think it’s remarkable to think that the Heil family has been farming this land since 1902, but they’ve got a relatively new addition in the wind turbines that you see in the background.  They’re part of the Laurel wind farm — 52 turbines that harvest enough wind power to power an estimated 30,000 Iowa homes in a way that’s clean and renewable.

And at a moment when we want to pursue every avenue for job creation, it’s homegrown energy like wind that’s creating good, new jobs in states like Iowa.  Let me give you an example.  Back when I was first running for this office and spending a lot of time in this state, I visited the town of Newton, about a half an hour down the road.  The local Maytag plant was closing its doors and nearly 2,000 jobs were on the line.  So you had a once-thriving factory that was going dark and going quiet and, understandably, folks were worried about what would happen to the community.

Then wind energy offered a new opportunity.  When I returned to Newton to visit that plant as President several months ago, some of the same folks who had lost their jobs at Maytag were back on the line building wind towers to support some of the most advanced wind turbines in the world.

Earlier this year, at a different plant about five minutes from there, I met workers building enormous blades for these wind turbines.  And I’m proud of the fact that, while we used to have to import parts like those, today they’re made in Newton, made in Iowa, made in America by American workers.

Unfortunately, what we thought was a bipartisan consensus in supporting wind power has been fraying a little bit during election season.  My opponent in this election says he wants to end tax credits for wind energy, wind energy producers that make all this possible.  He’s called these sources of energy “imaginary”; his new running mate has called them a “fad”.

I think a lot of folks in Iowa would disagree, because wind farms like this and the good jobs that are down in Newton, they’re not a “fad” and they’re not “imaginary.”  Seventy-five thousand jobs across this country depend on wind energy; 7,000 jobs in Iowa alone.  That’s more than in any other state.  These are good, American jobs.  And thanks to the hard work of the folks who have these jobs, Iowa generates about 20 percent of its electricity from wind — energy that powers homes and businesses and factories all across the state.

Over the past four years, we’ve doubled the amount of electricity America can generate from wind — from 25 gigawatts to 50 gigawatts.  And to put that in perspective, that’s like building 12 new Hoover Dams that are powering homes all across the country.  We doubled the amount of electricity we generate from solar energy, too.  And combined, these energy sources are enough power to make sure that 13 million homes have reliable power and support the paychecks that help more than 100,000 Americans provide for their families.

That’s not imaginary.  That is real.  And that’s what’s at stake in November.  Thirty-seven thousand American jobs are on the line if the wind energy tax credit is allowed to expire like my opponent thinks they should.  And unlike Governor Romney, I want to stop giving $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to big oil companies that have rarely been more profitable so that we can keep investing in homegrown energy sources like wind that have never been more promising.  That’s part of the choice in this election.

We can listen to folks who want to take us backwards by doubling down on the same economic policies that got us into a fix several years ago and that we’re still fighting out of.  Or we can keep moving forward to a future with more good, American jobs, more sources of homegrown, American energy, greater energy independence, and cleaner, safer environments for our kids.

And I think it was interesting talking to Jeff.  He described how these wind farms got started, and what you had was all the neighboring farms coming together and essentially forming a cooperative.  And folks who had these windmills on their land, on their property, recognized that, look, that was going to have an impact on folks who might not.  And so everybody in this area, whether they’ve got a wind farm or not, helps benefit — or is benefiting from the economics of this wind energy.

And that’s an example of what America is about.  We believe in free enterprise, we believe in hard work.  The Heil family is an example of that.  But we also believe in neighborliness and working together for the common good.  And as a consequence of their foresight and their creativity, and with the help of these wind energy tax credits, every farmer, every landowner in this area, is benefiting.  And all of us are benefiting from clean, American energy.

So I hope we continue to promote this kind of energy.  I know the Heil family does, too.  And my expectation is, is that over the next several years, in the same way that we’ve doubled wind energy in the past, we’re going to keep on doubling it in the future.

Thanks very much, everybody.

3:01 P.M. CDT

Full Text Obama Presidency May 24, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Discusses Clean Energy Agenda in Iowa




President Obama Touts Clean Energy Agenda in Iowa

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-24-12

Visiting the critical battleground state of Iowa Thursday, President Obama touted his election-year energy agenda and urged Republican lawmakers to put politics aside and back his proposals to boost the economy.

“Too many of my Republican friends in Congress are standing in the way.  They either want to do nothing at all or they want to double down on the same failed policies that got us into this mess,” the president told workers in the blue-collar town of Newton, Iowa.

Obama has been publicly pushing lawmakers to act on his “honey-do” list for Congress, five items that he has been promoting for months, but that have gained little traction on Capitol Hill….READ MORE

President Obama Talks Clean Energy in Iowa

Source: WH, 5-24-12

President Barack Obama at TPI Composites Iowa’s wind turbine blade facility (May 24, 2012)
cPresident Barack Obama delivers remarks urging Congress to act on the “To Do List” and highlighting the need to invest in clean energy by passing legislation, at TPI Composites Iowa’s wind turbine blade facility in Newton, Iowa, May 24, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

In Iowa this afternoon, President Obama continued to press lawmakers to take action on his To-Do List for Congress.

He traveled to Newton to push for the renewal of a tax credit for companies that produce clean energy. The credit currently supports as many as 37,000 jobs.

His host for the visit was TPI Composites — a company that makes blades for wind turbines and employs more 700 people.

“If Congress doesn’t act, companies like this one will take a hit,” he said. “Jobs will be lost. That’s not a guess, that’s a fact. We can’t let that happen.”

Currently, 20 percent of all the electricity used in the Iowa is generated by wind power, and there are currently more wind power jobs in the state than in any other in America.

Overall, the United States generates enough electricity from wind to power 10 million homes. And there are 500 production facilities in 43 states putting people to work in that industry.

Later, he answered questions about the To-Do List on Twitter.


Remarks by the President on Energy in Newton, Iowa

TPI Composites
Newton, Iowa

4:30 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Iowa!  (Applause.)  Well, it is good to be back in Newton!  (Applause.)  It’s been a while.  It’s good to be back in Iowa.  It’s brought back memories — of a lot of driving.  (Laughter.)  And I just had a great tour of this facility.  By the way, if people have chairs, feel free to sit down.  (Laughter.)  Some of you may not have seats, but I want to make everybody comfortable.  But don’t worry, I’m not going to talk that long.  I didn’t want to give that impression.

I just had a wonderful tour of this facility.  And I was telling some of the folks we couldn’t take the helicopters in because the winds were too strong, so you are definitely in the right business.  (Laughter.)  Obviously there’s some wind power here in Iowa that we want to tap.

I want to thank Quinten for the terrific introduction and for sharing his story.  Give Quinten a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  Quinten was telling my team this is the first time he’s ever spoken in public.  But he looked like a pro to me.  (Applause.)

I want to thank your mayor, Mayor Allen, for welcoming us here today.  (Applause.)  I also want to thank Representative Dave Loebsack for being here.  Give Dave a big round of applause. (Applause.)  And I know he had to leave early, but I just want to acknowledge somebody you know well — our outstanding Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.  (Applause.)  Tom was instrumental in helping transform Newton and he’s still got your back.  He is still fighting every single day for every single person in this town, but all across rural America.  And so we’re very proud of him.

Now, we all know how difficult these past few years have been for the country.  Iowa has actually done a little better than some other states, but it’s still been tough.  And after the worst recession of our lifetimes, it’s going to take some time for the economy to fully recover — more time than a lot of us would like.  And we’re still facing some headwinds, like the situation in Europe right now, which is having an impact on our economy.

But while there’s certain economic developments we can’t control, there are a bunch of things that we can control.  There are plenty of steps that we can take right now — steps that we must take right now — to speed up this recovery and to create jobs, and to restore some of the financial security that a lot of families have lost.  It’s within our control to do all of that right now.  But here’s the thing — (applause.)  It’s true, we can make that difference.

The challenge we’ve got is that too many folks aren’t on the same page.  We’ve got too many of my dear Republican friends in Congress that have been standing in the way of some steps that we could take that would make a difference at the moment.  Either they say they don’t want to do anything at all, or they don’t want to do it before the election, or they want to double down on some of the policies that didn’t work and helped to get us into this mess in the first place.

And Newton knows something about that — because Newton lost manufacturing.  Newton lost Maytag.  A lot of the trends that we had seen even before the financial crisis hit, hit Newton first. And so when you hear somebody say we should cut more taxes, especially for the wealthiest Americans, well, Newton, you’ve been there and you’ve done that.  We did that — 2000, 2001, 2003.  When you hear people say that we should cut back more on the rules we put in place for banks and financial institutions to avoid another taxpayer bailout — well, we tried that.  When people say that we should just wait until the housing market hits bottom and hope that it comes back, hope for the best — well, that’s not an answer for people.  That doesn’t make sense.

We’ve tried at lot of these ideas for nearly a decade.  It did not work.  We saw manufacturing moving offshore.  We saw a few people do very well, but too many families struggling just to get by — all before the financial crisis hit.  And the financial crisis made it worse.  So we can’t go backwards.  We’ve got to move forward.  We’ve got to build an economy where hard work and responsibility pay off, where you can find a good job and own your own home, maybe start your own businesses and give your kids a chance for a better future.  (Applause.)  That’s the American way.  That’s who we are.  (Applause.)

So I’ve been pushing Congress to help us get there by passing a few common-sense policies that would strengthen the economy and put more folks to work right now.  We even made a handy “To-Do” list that they can check off.  It’s just like the to-do list Michelle gives me, a “honey-do” list.  (Laughter.)  There are only five things on it, on this “To-Do” list, but these are all things we could get done before the election.  We don’t have to wait until then.  There are some things that we should put ahead of politics, and one of them is making sure that the economy is moving forward and the recovery is moving forward.  (Applause.)

And like I said, I kept it simple.  There are just five things.  I didn’t want to overload Congress with too much at once.  (Laughter.)  But these are all ideas that will make a difference right now and we shouldn’t wait for an election to get them done.

So first up on the list, it makes no sense that we’re actually still giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs and factories overseas.  That doesn’t make sense at all.  That doesn’t make any sense.  (Applause.)  So what I’ve asked Congress to do is end tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas, use that money to cover the moving expenses for companies that are bringing jobs back to the United States of America.  That’s a common-sense approach.  (Applause.)

Second, we’ve asked Congress to give every responsible homeowner — folks who have been making their mortgage payments  — the opportunity to save an average of $3,000 a year by refinancing their mortgage and taking advantage of these historically low rates.  The problem is a lot of folks are having trouble refinancing if their home is underwater, if it’s worth less than their mortgage, and sometimes banks have been pulling back a little bit.  We want to make it easier for people to refinance.  So that’s the second thing because that will create  — that will put more money in the economy for everybody.  And if you’ve got an extra $3,000 in your pocket, then you’ll go shopping, you’ll go out to a restaurant — suddenly there’s a lot more money circulating and the economy gets stronger.  So that’s the second thing.

Two weeks ago I was in Reno, Nevada, with a family — they got a chance to refinance because of some steps that we had already taken administratively, and it’s making a huge difference in their lives.  And we want all families to have that same opportunity.

Third thing, instead of just talking about job creators — you always hear — every member of Congress has said, we’ve got to help the job creators.  Okay, let’s help them.  Congress should help small business owners who create most of the new jobs in America — small business owners — (Applause.)  So what we want to do is give them a tax break for hiring more workers and for paying them higher wages.  Give them an incentive to say, you know what, if on the margins maybe I’m thinking about hiring that extra person, if I get a tax break it makes that person a little bit cheaper to hire, and that can put more of our neighbors and friends back to work.  So that’s a common-sense idea.  (Applause.)

Fourth thing, we have done a whole lot to make sure that those men and women who have served us in Iraq and Afghanistan, that we are serving them as well as they’ve served us — (applause) — treating them with the honor and respect that they have earned when they come home.  (Applause.)  So we put together the Post-9/11 GI Bill so they’re able to go back and get some training and skills.  We mobilized the private sector to hire more veterans and give them the private sector incentives to hire more veterans.

But there’s another thing we can do.  Congress should create what we’re calling a Veterans Jobs Corps, so that we can help communities across America put our returning heroes back to work as police officers and firefighters and park rangers.  Nobody who fought for our country overseas should have to fight for a job when they come back home.  We’ve still got too much unemployment among our veterans.  (Applause.)

So those are four simple things.  And the fifth thing is the reason why I’m here today.  The fifth item on my “To-Do” list — I’m calling on Congress to extend tax credits that are set to expire at the end of the year for clean-energy companies like TPI.  (Applause.)  Let’s not wait.  Let’s do it now.  (Applause.)

Many of you know the story of what’s happening here better than I do, but I just want to remind you how far we’ve come.  Shortly after I took office, I came to Newton — some of you remember — and we unveiled an all-of-the-above energy strategy for America.  We said let’s produce more oil and gas, but let’s also produce more biofuels; let’s produce more fuel-efficient cars; let’s produce more solar and wind powerand other sources of clean, renewable energy.  And I came to Newton because Newton is helping to lead the way when it comes to building wind turbines.

And since then, our dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year that I’ve been in office — every single year. (Applause.)  America is now producing more domestic oil than any time in the last eight years.  But we’re also producing more natural gas, and we’re producing more biofuels than any time in our history.  And that’s good for the Iowa economy.  (Applause.) We’re laying the foundation for some of our nation’s first offshore wind farms.  And since I became President, America has nearly doubled the use of renewable energy, like solar power and wind power — we’ve nearly doubled it.  (Applause.)

So this country is on the path towards more energy independence.  And that’s good for everybody.  It’s good for people’s pocketbooks; it’s good for the environment; it’s good for our national security.  We don’t want our economy dependent on something that happens on the other side of the world.  We don’t want every time there’s a scare about war or some regime change in the Middle East that suddenly everybody here is getting socked and the whole economy is going down.

And the best thing is, in the process, we’re also putting thousands of Americans back to work — because the more we rely on American-made energy, the less oil we buy from other countries, the more jobs we create here at home, the more jobs we create here in Iowa.

So let’s look at the wind industry.  It’s so important to Iowa.  This industry, thanks in large part to some very important tax credits, has now taken off.  The state of Iowa now gets nearly 20 percent of all your electricity from wind — 20 percent.  Overall, America now has enough wind capacity to power 10 million homes.  So this is an industry on the rise.  And as you know, it’s an industry that’s putting people to work.  You know this firsthand.  There are more wind power jobs in Iowa than any other state.  That’s a big deal.  (Applause.)

And one of these modern windmills has more than 8,000 different parts — everything from the towers and the blades to the gears, to the electrical switches.  And it used to be that almost all these parts were imported.  Today, more and more of these parts are being made here in America — right here.  (Applause.)  We used to have just a few dozen manufacturing facilities attached to the wind industry.  Today we have nearly 500 facilities in 43 states employing tens of thousands of American workers — tens of thousands.

So we’re making progress.  And you know it better than anybody.  I mean, when I was talking to Quinten and Mark and a whole bunch of the other folks who are working here, they reminded me of the experience at working at Maytag and putting your heart and soul into a company and making a great product, and then, suddenly having that company leave, and how hard that was for families and how hard it was for the community.  But folks made the transition.

And now, when you look at what’s happening here — 700 to 800 jobs, over $30 million being put back into the community — this gives folks hope.  It gives people opportunity.  I met some folks who have been in manufacturing for 30 years, but I also met a couple of young folks who were just getting started.  And that’s what we’re looking for.  Nobody wants a handout.  Nobody wants to get something for nothing.  But if we’ve got a chance to create energy and create value and put people back to work, why wouldn’t we do that?

So I’m here today because, as much progress as we’ve made, that progress is in jeopardy.  If Congress doesn’t act, those tax credits that I mentioned — the ones that helped build up the wind industry, the ones that helped to bring all these jobs to Newton, those tax credits will expire at the end of the year if Congress doesn’t do anything.

If Congress doesn’t act, companies like this one will take a hit.  Jobs will be lost.  That’s not a guess, that’s a fact.  We can’t let that happen.  And keep in mind that — and this is something Congress needs to understand — Dave Loebsack understands it, but I want every member of Congress to understand it.  These companies that are putting in orders for these amazing blades, they’re making plans now.  They’re making decisions now. So if they’re cutting back on their orders, if they’re not confident that the industry is going to be moving at a fast clip and they start reducing orders here, that affects you.  You can’t wait for six months.  You can’t wait for eight months.  You can’t wait for a year to get this done.  It’s got to be done now.  (Applause.)

So this is a simple thing on Congress’s “To-Do” list — extend these tax credits.  Do it now.  Every day they don’t act business grows more concerned that they will not be renewed.  They’re worried demand for their products is going down, so they start thinking twice about expanding, more cautious about making new investments.  They start looking overseas.  I was talking to your CEO.  We got an opportunity to branch out, but we want to branch out by making the stuff here and then sending it there.  We don’t want to branch out by sending the jobs and the investments over there, and then shipping it back to America.  That doesn’t make sense.  (Applause.)  One company that had plans to invest $100 million to build a wind manufacturing plant in Arkansas — and create hundreds of jobs –- put those plans on hold.

And by the way, this should not be a partisan issue.  There are several Republican governors –- including the governor of this state -– who are calling on Congress to act.  There are members of Congress in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle –- including your two senators –- who support these tax credits.  And that doesn’t happen much in Washington where Democrats and Republicans say they agree on something.  So if you agree, why haven’t we gotten it done yet?

This is not just an issue, by the way, for the wind industry.   Some of America’s most prominent companies -– from Starbucks to Campbell’s Soup –- they’re calling on Congress to act because they use renewable energy.

Sometimes when I think about Washington and Congress — and I know some of you think the same way — I don’t get it.  I understand why we wouldn’t get something if we really disagree on something.  And there are some big disagreements:  They want to make big cuts to pay for more big tax cuts for the wealthy.  I disagree with that.  I think we should have a balanced approach  — cut waste, but make sure that everybody is paying their fair share.  (Applause.)  An issue like that, maybe it can’t get settled before an election because they just have a different approach.  I understand that.  But this, everybody says they agree to or at least a lot of people agree to it.

So I’m going to need your help.  I need you to get involved. I need you to help get this done.  I need everybody here in Newton — and I mean everybody — I don’t just mean folks who work at TPI — anybody who’s watching, everybody here in Iowa, pick up the phone, send an email, send a tweet, tell Congress, let’s do the right thing.  Tell Congress the story of Newton.  Tell folks why it’s so important to this community.  Tell them we’ve come too far to turn back now.  (Applause.)

It used to be Newton was known for building washers and dryers, used to be Newton was known for Maytag.  And obviously they were a big employer — thousands of people working in the area.  But back in 2007 when they closed down the operations here, that was a major blow.  And everybody here, if you don’t — if you weren’t affected personally by it, you were affected indirectly.  Your friends, your neighbors, friends like Quinten were forced to start all over again.  And he didn’t give up.  You didn’t give up.  You kept pushing ahead.  Some of you had to retrain.  Pretty soon after one industry had left, another showed up.  Some of the facilities that Maytag closed were reopened.  So a lot of folks who used to build washers and dryers, now they’re part of the future, building an industry that’s going to make America stronger.  That’s the story of Newton.  That’s the story of America.

So, yes, we’re facing tough times, but we’re getting through them.  We’re getting through them together — because in this country, just like in Newton, we don’t give up.  We keep moving. We keep moving forward.  And if we work together with a common purpose, we will get this economy back on track — and remind everybody why America is the greatest country on Earth.

Thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

4:55 P.M. CDT

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